Ask me my idea of hell and interminable PowerPoint presentations feature strongly. The teeny tiny fonts. The thousands of bullet points. The inexplicable “swooshing noises” when slides gallop across the screen before coming to a surprised halt.
I am still in post PowerPoint therapy after decades in corporate land, so why am I talking about a social media site that is built on the bones of dead presentations?
What is SlideShare?
If your social media world only extends as far as Facebook or LinkedIn, then you are missing out a whole other world. SlideShare is designed as a place for people to share standalone presentations. No swooshes. No movement. No bad music.
Just pure design and hopefully fabulous business related content (although fun stuff has been sneaking in). There are ways to create voiceovers to your presentation, but for the sake of simplicity, we will just talk about the simple visual presentation version.
SlideShare presentations are indexed by Google, and help drive traffic back to your website.
Oh, and did I mention it was owned by LinkedIn? Interested yet?
How about a few statistics?
SlideShare gets over 60 million views per month, with over five times the traffic from business owners than for other social media sites.
Business owners are more likely to view a SlideShare presentation on a topic of interest than watch cat videos or connect on LinkedIn. Interested yet?
Perhaps there is a use for SlideShare as a B2B social content marketing strategy after all.
How to create a SlideShare presentation
Not surprisingly, there are loads of SlideShare presentations and articles on how to create an effective SlideShare presentation. Needless to say, your dusty old PowerPoint presentation will not cut it!
Here are a few of the better instructional articles.
Me – when looking to create my first SlideShare presentation, I wanted a simple list of what to do and where to put it in the deck. Nope. Nothing. Crickets. There were either reams of pages of information to wade through to get to the useful stuff, or nothing other than pages on how to choose the best fonts.
In the interests of saving you time, this is what I learned.
SlideShare is visual feast
Unless your slides look good enough to eat, then they will quietly sit in a corner and be as popular as cheese cubes and pickled onions on a toothpick at a fancy party.
This means that unless you moonlight as a graphic designer, then perhaps leave your PowerPoint slides behind and head over to Canva.
Choose large evocative images, use only a few fonts and stay with your brand’s colour palette.
SlideShare slide dimensions look best at 1024 x 768. Don’t get tempted to go for smaller sizes.
Your SlideShare cover image
Your first slide is your cover image and needs to stand out from all the other slide decks on the site. Make it bright, colourful and clear.
Remember that when people share your slide deck on Facebook, Facebook crops the top and bottom bits of your cover image. In other words – keep your cover page headline in the middle of the page.
Also on your cover page, add your Twitter handle and your website URL in the middle of the bottom. They may not be able to click it, but they can read it.
The next challenge is creating the headline for your presentation. Remember that you are writing for both Google and warm, fuzzy, humans, so your headline has to be emotionally enticing as well as contain the keywords you want to target.
Headlines with numbers in them get more views than without, and framing the title in the negative is more effective than the positive (go figure!)
Your marketing slides
You want to drive traffic back to your website, and you can do this in a few ways.
On the second slide, introduce yourself and where you are from. Just like any presentation, people want to know your story and your connection to the presentation.
On the third last slide, send people to a download page on your website to get additional information. Some people choose to have people “Pay with a Tweet” to access the additional information. Some choose to send people to a separate landing page.
On the second last slide, encourage people to share the slide deck. I am testing some simple sharing code in my deck. Why would I do that when SlideShare makes it easy to share from the site? Simply because people can also download the slide deck as a PDF. Once they have it in their hot little hands, I still want them to be able to share it with other people.
On the last slide, invite them to connect with you and include links to your key social media and website. Most people only use their Twitter handle rather than every possible place they can be stalked on.
A few other tips I picked up along the way
- Unlike a standard presentation, the most popular presentations only use their logo on the first and last slide, and let their visual branding come from their colours, design and layout.
- From slide 4 onwards, you can hyperlink bits of text and images. You can’t do it before slide 4 and if you try, the links won’t work.
- Only put links in the middle third column of each image. The outer thirds are used to scroll the deck forward or backward, so you lose the link.
- The most shared slide decks have more detail in them. While most slide decks have less than 30 slides, don’t be afraid to create epic decks with amazing content.
- Include a directional slide early in the deck, telling people what to expect in terms of content.
- If you read an article that says you can build a slide deck in 10 minutes you are permitted to laugh hysterically and throw something at the author. Good slide decks take time to create so you need to allow at least a day to get the first one under your belt (assuming you already have an article you want to convert to a deck).
A few Canva quirks
While I adore Canva, there are some particular quirks when it comes to presentations. The link option for images and text can be a bit tetchy, so you will need to check that the right link has gone in the right place. And then put it in again. And again. And again.
You can’t create more than 30 slides in one file. This means longer presentations will be split across two or more folders and you need to download the files as separate PDF files.
You will then need to merge the separate PDF files into one unified document before you can upload it to SlideShare.
That’s where Small PDF comes into play. It’s free and will neatly merge the two documents together while retaining your now beautiful links. Small PDF is one of the top 26 programs we recommend for small business owners.
Uploading your file
When you upload your file, you get to name your slide deck. Include your headline along with your Twitter handle and possibly your business name (so you can track social media mentions).
Remember keywords, rich evocative descriptions and give people a reason to check out your slides.
One great thing, you can always reload your file (many many times) if you spot a typo or a link not working.
A slide deck is only as good as its shares
Once you have your slide deck uploaded, then comes the promotion. Share it widely and often with your followers on social media. Embed it on your website.
A slide deck without promotion is like a magazine without distribution. You need to be proactive in getting it read.
And the end result? Here’s one I prepared earlier
Please check it out. I would deeply appreciate if you could like it. Leave some comments. Share it with your colleagues.